Environmental microbiology

Methane-derived carbon flow through microbial communities in arctic lake sediments.

PMID 25581131


Aerobic methane (CH4 ) oxidation mitigates CH4 release and is a significant pathway for carbon and energy flow into aquatic food webs. Arctic lakes are responsible for an increasing proportion of global CH4 emissions, but CH4 assimilation into the aquatic food web in arctic lakes is poorly understood. Using stable isotope probing (SIP) based on phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA-SIP) and DNA (DNA-SIP), we tracked carbon flow quantitatively from CH4 into sediment microorganisms from an arctic lake with an active CH4 seepage. When 0.025 mmol CH4 g(-1) wet sediment was oxidized, approximately 15.8-32.8% of the CH4 -derived carbon had been incorporated into microorganisms. This CH4 -derived carbon equated to up to 5.7% of total primary production estimates for Alaskan arctic lakes. Type I methanotrophs, including Methylomonas, Methylobacter and unclassified Methylococcaceae, were most active at CH4 oxidation in this arctic lake. With increasing distance from the active CH4 seepage, a greater diversity of bacteria incorporated CH4 -derived carbon. Actinomycetes were the most quantitatively important microorganisms involved in secondary feeding on CH4 -derived carbon. These results showed that CH4 flows through methanotrophs into the broader microbial community and that type I methanotrophs, methylotrophs and actinomycetes are important organisms involved in using CH4 -derived carbon in arctic freshwater ecosystems.